First AA Published Piece

By Jim Carney

January 19, 1939.

This article is the first piece that was published describing the fellowship that would later be called Alcoholics Anonymous. The article is especially noteworthy for the use of the word "grapevine" in describing how the early message was carried to those still suffering. The use of this term by Silas likely proved popular, and perhaps gave rise to the name for our meeting in print!

There Is Hope

A former big business executive had dinner at our house the other day. When I first met him, three years ago, he had lost his $20,000 a year job on account of drink, but he told me with elation he had been cured. I was skeptical because I had seen the good resolves of hard drinkers go to pot more than once. But as he told me his story across the dinner table my skepticism evaporated. After all, three years of total abstinence is an adequate period of probation even for the kind of sot he had been. I verified the story, and I am passing it along because it offers hope of redemption to a million alcoholics in this country.

The man is one of a remarkable fellowship, a sort of secret order, dedicated to reclaiming those who are fatally given to the cup. There are more then 100 of them scattered through the United States.

The group is noteworthy, to begin with, in that no man or woman comes under the wing is asked to sign a pledge or to sign anything else on the dotted line. Nobody is asked to pay. Admission to the order means no initiation fee, no annual dues nor regalia or ritual. It is anonymous because if its members were known they would be overwhelmed with more pleas for their volunteer help than they could handle. Therefore new recruits are found by word of mouth, by grapevine in the underworld of those who have reached the end of the tether.

-- Written by Silas Bent (One of the First 100 Men and Women)

Hackettstown Courier-Post

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